Micro-Podcasting at the World Maker Faire (& CNET Feature)


Returning to the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science for a second year provided an opportunity to show Audtra's pivot, analytics, and influencer iterations since winning two blue ribbons

The exhibit was generously relocated to the best location—Zone 1 (inside), on street level, after the main entrance exhibit, and the first table next to the info booth, under the donor wall/political leaders. 

Audtra's minimum viable exhibit was too micro to attract attendees, and someone didn't want to carry a tablecloth or people touching anything from proximity. "Micro-podcast," my last-minute thought before showtime conjured curiosity from nearly 200 MVE visitors.

These included a techie who recorded, "Hi, I'm test-recording a micro-podcast" on my Audtra timeline. Before I could identify what sectors he was in, a younger attendee recorded "chicken," when prompted to say something for a demo. His father stated the analytics would help identify if he could "think about anything besides chicken," which induced more laughter, before both parties left. Someone also stated the analytics "would help covfefe" inventors—no comment.

Notable exhibits included the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY), the Stanford-Brown 2017 iGEM Team (interned at NASA Ames Research Center), NYU, McGraw-Hill, Raspberry Pi, PolyTwist (next level Rubik's cubes), Cocoa Press (a chocolate 3D printer by a UPenn student), Girl Scouts recruitment, and nostalgia-inducing Apple II and IIe computers. There was a satirical exhibit selling $1/s.f. called New York for Rent, and more left unexplored due to time constraints.

Only one crew member visited the area, who likely thought the framed ribbons were from this year (so more would be unnecessary), but brought a friend back, who liked the app for cataloging dreams. 

The email collection expanded with 10x more handshakes. Table visitors included a pharma IT employee (likely not for Shrekli), who read that in 15 months, the amount of data in existence would double the all-time collection. He expressed that the content would be narcissistic selfies, Snaps, and videos with a phone in between faces, whereas Audtra enables deep, face-to-face communication, with phones out of the way and useful analytics. I shared how it'd empower the marginalized, illiterate, and ill, including paralyzed patients who can only use speech, a forthcoming prison podcast, potential special ed podcast by Lily's mother (a teacher), therapy podcasts like the one featured in The New Yorker, and a potential potcast by a former crew member who awarded the app a blue ribbon last year.

There was a military commander who stated it'd help with active duty mental health and PTSD. An LA guy who defaulted to Ubers over trains said he'd refer it to his behavioral therapist girlfriend. There were journalists who'd use it for transcribing interviews, and someone who'd recommend it to journalist friends. Someone recorded that it could be used to dictate notes while writing a book, and the reincarnate of the AOL Moviefone voice actor recorded the recognizable greeting. A NYC designer recorded that he was hungry, before relaying he'd try to elevate the app since he liked the design and asked where I learned design from, as he'd never seen anything like it. Naturally, as my front-end web languages derived from MySpace/Tumblr design competitions with then-teenage peers.

Impressively, a pre-teen girl quickly understood the product and even asked what language it was coded in. She's deciding if she wants to be a scientist or dancer when she grows up, and I suggested she could do both.

Someone with a media pass wanted to take a photo for her portfolio, but turned out to also be CNET staffer, Sarah Tew, who featured Audtra in CNET's Maker Faire New York 2017 is a DIY Dream (#16). The first YouTube result for an informal advisor is a CNET demo, so I'll take this and the "dream" in the title as good signs.

Several attendees asked about semantic analysis. The current, manual tagging prevents bad words in camaraderie from being tagged as false-negatives, but with the v2.4+ updates ft. AI in a different context, our work will grow beyond making a dent in the world, and bend the universe whole.